Bafana Bafana arrive home from Egypt today with mixed feelings around the country following their exit from the Africa Cup of Nations, where they reached the quarterfinals.
The elephant in the room is Stuart Baxter, as there are divided opinions on whether he is still the right man to lead Bafana.
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane says it is rather immaterial whether the Scot stays on or leaves, the bigger picture is that South Africans need to be patient.
“I don’t know if my country has patience. We have to be patient and if we do things with Bafana people say you are buying time because the results have not come. But you cannot get it right in one day. Look how long it took Mauritania, Burundi, Kenya, Uganda and Madagascar,” said Mosimane.
“Look at where our players are playing. We don’t have a player in the Serie A, no player in La Liga, we only have one player in the English second division, Kamohelo Mokotjo. We don’t have a player in the Bundesliga… you see what I am trying to say?” he added.
The Downs coach says there is an overwhelming need to reflect as a footballing nation, essentially suggesting that Bafana need to climb off their high horse and be realistic about the situation as they are ranked only 72nd in the world and 14th on the continent.
“We think we are at the same level as Brazil but we are not, let’s be honest and let’s face it. Maybe that is where we are and if we accept where we are, we can only improve but if we have a challenge of accepting who we are and where we are, and we think we are where we want to be, it is unfair to the country. It raises unrealistic hopes and the next thing it becomes a problem,” he said.
Mosimane’s name is among those bandied about to take charge of Bafana, but having been at the helm between 2010 and 2012 and with his Sundowns team being at the apex of local football, he is shying away from the post, even if he is afforded an opportunity to double up as club and national coach.
“My days at Bafana were not nice. I lost two games in two years but it was not good enough. There is a big rivalry between Orlando Pirates, Kaizer Chiefs and Sundowns. The Chiefs and Pirates fans probably won’t accept me being coach of Bafana because of the big rivalry we have within the country.”
Benni McCarthy and Gavin Hunt’s names are also thrown around and Mosimane is batting for both his counterparts but insists the authorities need to give Baxter, or whoever next leads the squad, a chance to rebuild.
“I think Gavin must be given a chance and Benni also has a good name with Bafana. He played for Bafana, played in Europe and won the Uefa Champions League and his Cape Town City team play good football. But what do we want from Benni? Do we want him to win the Afcon? Then we are not patient.
“Look at Clarence Seedorf and Patrick Kluivert (Cameroon head coach and assistant). Those guys played for the Netherlands, Barcelona, Real Madrid and AC Milan and they come from the school of Total Football but you see how tough it is to transfer all that into a team as a coach.
“Those guys played at the highest level but yet they can’t make it. Then we put Benni there and want him to work miracles.”